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Choices

The quest is an important concept in Chivalry-Now. It recognizes the life journey that each of us takes, the journey from which we learn and grow and hopefully become a benefit to all.
     The purpose of this article is to point out the importance of making choices. We should not consider ourselves passive recipients of whatever glimpse of Truth the quest brings our way. We are protagonists who shape our own characters. We bear responsibility for all our choices. And every choice we make resonates throughout our culture like ripples in a pond.
     I sometimes refer to the quest as a path we walk on. Unfortunately, the word "path" can be misleading. The metaphor I'm poorly describing is basically a pathless journey through a landscape of possibilities. Every step we choose determines our direction. It may be influenced by circumstances or people that we meet, serendipitous guides, curiosities, or enemies to avoid, but ultimately we decide where we are going, even when our choices are limited.
     There are people who travel paths that are clearly defined and predictable. I say travel instead of journey, because the herd instinct they embrace is more in line with mass transit to a prescribed destination than anything resembling the wonder and excitement of a quest. Their idea of growth is "fitting in," following the rules, accepting the conclusions of others without question. They often accept the religion and political affiliation of their parents, choose their careers according to market values, educate themselves only as much as they have to, and turn away from injustice. They question nothing except what is expected by the sanctioning of the crowd.
     In contrast, the quest is a type of freedom that willfully discovers the world every day through direct experience, not accepting someone else's version of the world, out of social expectations or demands. It seeks authenticity rather than following a priority of comfort or safety. Its relationship to the world usually leans toward appreciation and protection, rather than exploitation. It humbly acknowledges the world is our teacher and worthy of respect.
     The quest is measured by our choices: how we respond to the challenges that confront us, and the tedium in between. It helps to imagine not a single path, already defined, but a projection of path-like possibilities, branching out in all directions, depending on choice. When you think of it, every decision we make opens a whole new world that would not be presented if that choice had not occurred. We usually don't appreciate this because the path we walk on often becomes familiar and predictable. When we lose sight of our ability to change things, we shut down to the full meaning and power of the quest.
     You might ask: "Are we talking about setting goals? If so, is that so different from those who follow the herd in mapping out their lives?"
     The difference from the herd mentality could not be more striking.
     When you place the power of choice in the hands of a free-thinking person who cherishes authenticity, freedom itself becomes a powerful, life-transforming dynamic that generates from within.
     One cannot live without making choices. What makes the quest different is that it urges us to make choices that are "admirable." Followers of the herd lean toward prescribed choices that are "enviable" instead - choices that produce status, wealth, comfort or security.
    
How does all this relate to Chivalry-Now?
    
The Knight-Errantry we hope to inspire prioritizes values that are timeless, universal, and represent something greater than selfish concerns. The knight-errant's responsibility is to become a conduit for that "something greater."
    
Basking in the title that knighthood brings misses the point entirely. Action is required. Behavior shaped by one's ideals. And that means ethical choices. It means placing oneself into the dynamic of change and articulating a clear vision.
    
Knighthood should not be looked upon as a goal or finality of achievement but as the beginning of new life. It encourages us to make choices, not whimsically or haphazardly, but according to an attentive conscience that expresses who we really are.

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